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Teacher Tenure Out, Merit Pay In: Legislature Whips First Bill of 2011 to Gov. Scott

| March 16, 2011

Good bye to better times: Flagler County teachers last year, protesting a merit-pay bill that then-Gov. Charlie Crist eventually vetoed. A similar bill will be signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. (© FlaglerLive)

The Legislature passed the biggest change to the state’s education system in more than 10 years, sending to Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday a bill tying teacher salaries to test scores and ending multi-year contracts.

The House of Representatives passed the bill on a 80-39 straight party-line vote, with Republicans in favor, after more than three hours of debate. Scott said afterward that he will sign it, the first bill that will be approved by the new governor.

The bill (SB 736) was a top priority for Republicans, who hold overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate, and moved quickly through the process, but not as quickly as a similar bill that passed last year in the face of heavy opposition from many of the state’s teachers, but was vetoed by then-Gov. Charlie Crist.

“This bill is going to improve our system to the benefit of our students,” Scott told reporters after the vote. “We will make sure the best teachers stick around, that we retain them, we train them, and we’ll find the money to make sure they are paid fairly.”

Republicans in the House of Representatives spent much of their time in debate Wednesday responding to criticism from Democrats. Supporters of the bill said it should be welcomed by teachers because it rewards good work.

“Ineffective teachers need to be on guard, effective teachers have nothing to worry about,” said Rep. Daniel Davis, R-Jacksonville.

This year’s attempt at establishing a teacher merit pay system removed some of the parts of last year’s bill that opponents liked least, such as yanking an educator’s teaching certificate if they receive too many low evaluations. It also exempts special education teachers from having their pay tied to test scores.

“We have listened and we have learned and we have made this a better product,” said Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.

The bill was still opposed by the state’s teachers union, though, and by many rank and file teachers.

Under this year’s measure, current teachers are also exempted from the new salary requirements and elimination of tenure. New teachers hired after July 2011 are put under one-year contracts and after July 2014, new teachers will be paid under the new merit pay system.

For new teachers, school districts would be required to set up an evaluation system that uses test scores for 50 percent of a teacher’s ranking and a “value-added” formula for the rest.

While Republicans portrayed teachers and school districts as being on board with the bill, the statewide teachers’ union, the Florida Education Association, says it harms teachers and should be vetoed.

“This bill reduces a school district’s flexibility and authority over teacher evaluations, pay schedules and working conditions,” said Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association. “It’s not good for students, it’s not good for teachers and it’s not grounded in sound research.”

Democrats said the bill doesn’t include any funding for merit pay increases.

During a time when school districts are facing big budget cuts, Democrats said it is unlikely districts could afford to implement the plan.

news service of florida

“They talk about giving better pay to teachers, but there is no money in the bill,” said House Minority Leader Ron Saunders, D-Key West. “Show me the money. Where is it?”

The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, said districts are not forced to actually pay for merit increases, just to establish a new pay plan and give raises when the money is available.

Money from the $700 million federal Race to the Top grant will be used to develop new tests.

Some critics of teacher merit pay suggested it is a thinly disguised attack on unions. Many teachers belong to their local unions, which collectively bargain on their behalf on salary, benefits and contract terms.

By establishing a set formula for teacher pay raises, Democrats said a union’s ability to collectively bargain on salaries is diminished. Historically, labor unions have been closely aligned with Democrats and reliable contributors to their campaigns.

“It’s nothing more than an attack on public school teachers. It attacks them maybe because they are the easy target or belong to unions,” said Rep. Rick Kriseman, D- St. Petersburg.

Democrats also said they felt shut out of negotiations on the bill. “Every idea we brought forward since this bill was drafted has been rejected,” said Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach.

Both Republicans and Democrats claim to have the support of teachers.

“This is a pro-teacher bill,” Rep. Rich Corcoran, R-New Port Richey. “More teachers have said to us they want to be measured; they want to be recognized for excellence.”

One teacher disputes that. Peggy Brookins, a math teacher at Forest High School in Marion County, said she has traveled to the Capitol to oppose the bill. “We are going to test these kids to death,” Brookins said. She was troubled that the formula for how a teacher would be paid was not spelled out.

Brookins said after 33 years of teaching, she makes $52,000 a year.

“I don’t know that there is a teacher in this state who wouldn’t want a better system,” Brookins said. “It’s great to measure student performance, but it has to be done over time.”

The last time the Florida Legislature passed education reforms on this scale was the passage of school vouchers in 1999 under former Gov. Jeb Bush. Those reforms established several programs that allowed students to receive scholarships to attend private schools.

One program, the Opportunity Scholarship, which was supported with taxpayer dollars, was shut down after the Florida Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional.

Republicans ended the day Wednesday with a hint for what is to come:

“The community college presidents have suggested we look at tenure at the community college level too, so that may or may not make it here,” said House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park. “You can’t do everything in one session, but it’s an idea that has merit and it may come up.”

–Lilly Rockwell, News Service of Florida

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46 Responses for “Teacher Tenure Out, Merit Pay In: Legislature Whips First Bill of 2011 to Gov. Scott”

  1. Monica Campana says:

    You get what you pay for. Since even the folks that passed the bill don’t expect any money to be available: “The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, said districts are not forced to actually pay for merit increases, just to establish a new pay plan and give raises when the money is available”, expect an exodus of great teachers from Florida. We already have an exodus of the best of our best from our universities to the corporate world due to our low wages. Now our best teachers can join them in continuing the improvements in other states or countries that Florida has achieved in recent years.
    To those heading out – use your improvement data in your resume.
    Who will be left to teach here? Guess we’ll be left with graduates capable of wiping tables and a$$&$.
    Best of luck with the job creation Mr. Scott.

  2. The Truth says:

    “Let’s get to work.”

    So, are the Republican voters regretting their decision yet?

  3. palmcoaster says:

    Though our Florida Constitution does not have any provision for a Florida governor or legislators recall, maybe its time to change that:

    Also we all need to know if any of our school taxes to sustain the Flagler Auditorium had been proposed or cut as well.

  4. dlf says:

    I not sure; this is the correct manner to hold teachers accountable, but there must be a way to see if we are getting the right results for our children. I certainly agree that no one should be promised a job for life no matter how bad they perform. I do not know of any industry that promises a job for life except the government and education,that needs to change in both cases. Oh, I forgot the auto and steel industry did just about promise a job for life,by union protection and you see where the auto and steel industry is today.

  5. Val Jaffee says:

    Notice the date of the article – and one has to wonder about the educators behind our country’s leaders – if our leaders are as terrible as we claim.

    Ever Try To Flunk A Bad Teacher? (July 1998)

    When students in Clementine Johnson’s typing class began throwing books and dismantling typewriters six years ago, she didn’t send anyone to detention. Instead she gleefully tossed back. Then, according to the Florida Times-Union, after the principal called her class unruly, she wrote a loopy letter describing the “living flesh on my true hereditary genes bones.” Finally she changed her surname to God.

    The decision to fire Johnson–sorry, “Ms. God”–may seem like a no-brainer. But in fact she stayed on the job another year, presumably enlivening class but probably not serving Florida’s future terribly well. How did she stay so long? She chose the right career: rigid work rules and languorous appeals procedures make teaching a profession from which it is almost impossible to be fired. Which isn’t to demean the millions of teachers who work hard for sweatshop wages. But when, for example, only .02% of Florida teachers were dismissed for incompetence last year [1997], you know there’s a problem.

    Why does it take so long to fire bad teachers? Each state is different, but most award educators lifetime job protection after just three years on the job. Tenure gives teachers faced with termination a host of stalling tactics–principals seeking to dismiss them must usually file several written reports, wait a year for improvement, file additional poor evaluations, appear at a hearing and perhaps even show up in court to defend the firing. In the meantime, the teacher still gets paid, as does a substitute. And of course the district must spend thousands to pay the lawyers. Not surprisingly, very few teachers are ever fired: just 44 of Illinois’ 100,000 tenured public school teachers were dismissed between 1991 and 1997, according to the president of the Illinois Education Association.

    In itself, tenure isn’t an awful idea. Most judges and university professors have it. Its noble purpose is to protect teachers from being fired unjustly because, say, they won’t teach creationism. And teacher unions point out that tenure confers basic due process. . .

    Every time a new horror story appears describing a teaching debacle–a Connecticut teacher helped her students cheat on the state’s basic skills test but ended up with only a 30-day suspension–the pressure on states to change tenure laws grows. And the movement gained support last month when Democratic Senator John Kerry joined his G.O.P. colleague Al D’Amato in calling to “end teacher tenure as we know it.” That’s too late to help Ms. God’s students, but not their younger siblings.

    By Andrew Goldstein,9171,988778,00.html#ixzz1GrnwMmXy

  6. dlf says:

    I think it a little strange that all the liberal socialist want to beat Scott to death, who has been in office for less than a year. However when the teabaggers want to beat up on the Great One Obama the liberal socialist tell us give him a chance he has only been in office for over two years. I guess which ever side of the fence you set on you will need to tolerate Scott or Obama, enjoy.

  7. dlf says:

    Val:great information, great questions thanks for sharing. On the other side of the coin more money does not make a great teacher, but we continue to think the more money we throw at education the better the results, I.E no child left behind and what ever the new gimmick that Obama is spending on. Why not require results from the people who we pay to get them.?

  8. Dorothea says:

    To dlf:

    No child left behind is a Bush Brothers initiative. The tests are supplied by Neil Bush, a 1.6 billion dollar industry. It was initiated in 2002 during George W. Bush’s administration. President Obama is trying to change the NCLB law.

    Scott’s destructive legislation, taking money from education and giving it to corporations and lowering property taxes, needs criticizing. Big difference between that and your constant harping, no matter what the subject, on the President who inherited a mess made over eight years from his George Bush. The Republicans have run Florida for the last nine years and produced yet another mess.

  9. Darren May says:

    dlf you state, “more money does not make a great teacher.” Yet, is that not what the Republicans that control our state legislature continue to state. Hold out the stick and carrot and they will perform. Then the (R) Representative from Miami stands up in the legislature and states, “that we do not need to fund the merit pay, when the districts have extra money they must put that money into the plan.” Basically removing any incentive for a teacher to do better, because as of right now the districts will not have any money to award teachers based upon their merit.

    Val, I have worked in a school where a teacher was let go even with “tenure,” actually “due process.” They were given a year to improve their instruction with the guidance of the principal, curriculum department chair, assistant principal and an instructional teacher mentor. At that time it was deemed they had not and were removed from the classroom. The reason that there is such a low number of incompetent teachers goes to the fact that all the incompetent teachers get weeded out within the first three years of experience.

    Everyone wants to make the public employee accountable, how about making private corporations that will receive the 1.6 billion dollars in tax cuts some accountability. They should have to prove to Governor Scott and the people of this state that the breaks they get actually created jobs. If they have one hundred employees, then they need to hire an additional 10% within 6 months and they must still have those employees on their payroll at the end of the year. Prove, that trickle down economics works in today’s economy.

  10. mike says:

    Hey dlf, what ever is one word maybe funding public school teachers in not such a bad idea!?!?!?!

  11. dlf says:

    Darren May: you say you saw ONE teacher get fired who had tenure, was she/he the only bad apple, how many teachers were there, how long of a period of time was this? My bet is there are a lot more bad teachers who should have gotten the ax during your career. Private corps do not have the job of educating our kids,teachers do. When are we going to stop blaming everyone except the people who are getting paid and good salary for working 6-7 months a year, it is not General Motors, General Foods or Publixs job to run our education system, own up to doing the job you signed up to do.

  12. dlf says:

    Dorehea: I know who made the mess we are in and Obama was part of the party as an elected official prior to his winning the White House. The dems have been in control of our Federal Government for the last six years, Bush did not make laws , no president does. Remember who was in the majority for the last 6-8 years. How easy you liberal forget.. You like most of thew writers on these pages want to blame everyone but your self and myself. We elected these fools: Bush , Obama and Scott, belly up to the bar and take some of the blame and stop winning.

  13. dlf says:

    Mike: I don’t understand your comment?

  14. Darren May says:


    Private corporations according to Mr. Scott’s budget will receive tax breaks to exceed 1.6 billion dollars, while school budgets are getting cut by 1.7 billion dollars. That’s a wash in my eyes. So if corporations are getting the breaks they should have to show the states citizens that they got people to work.

    Secondly, did you not read my entire post. I guess I have to restate it. Most ineffective teachers are weeded out of the teaching profession within the first three years on the job. If I go into another teacher’s classroom, I am not going into that room to determine if the teacher is effective or not, I am going in there to learn and see what I could do differently or improve on. The job of evaluation falls on the administration.

    Thirdly, I get Mike’s statement, whatever is one word. You spelt it what ever. He is saying you need additional education yourself. By the way you spelt yourself wrong too, it’s one word not two. For future reference cannot is one word too.

    dlf, the President has just as much a role in legislation as legislature. Ever since FDR the President has sent proposals to Congress to make into bills and then become laws. He also, has the ability to veto legislation, and the democratic party during Bush’s presidency did not have a veto proof majority. So, if Bush did not like it he could have vetoed it. It is called the system of ‘checks and balances.’

  15. Dorothea says:

    dfl, we went to war in Iraq because that’s what George Bush wanted us to do. He invented a pack of lies aboout non-existent weapons of mass destruction based on nothing. That war was and still is costing us our economy. Bush returned us to the ol’ trickle down economics, which never worked. Not for him, not for Reagan, and will not for all the idiot far right ideological governors presently working to make the middle class extinct.

    As for control of Congress, get your facts straight. 2001-2003, both chambers were Republican (Cheney was the Republican tie breaker in the Senate). 2003-2005 both chambers were Republican. 2005-2007 both chambers were Republican. 2007-2009 both chambers were Democratic, barely in the Senate because of 2 independents, 2009-2011 both chambers were Democratic. Since the Senate requires a 60 vote majority, I would say that the Republicans were in control for most of Bush’s term, with the exception of the last two years.

  16. dlf says:

    Dorothea Reread my comments, last 6 years controlled by your party of fools., Lets thank Obama for shutting down the prison in Cuba, ending the wars, making government more open,oh he has not done any of these items, or has he? Hillary voted for the war, Kerry voted for the war before he voted against it, there is some brain power there.2001-2003 was 8-10 years spelling maybe off but my math is better, I think. Most of Bush term was not all of his term correct?

  17. dlf says:

    Darren May, doing research on line you spell the words in question either way. I guess I am a by product of the government school system you are telling me is doing such a great job. That is why most of the other countries are killing us in all fields of education correct?

  18. Dorothea says:

    dlf, your math is off. Democrats were not in control of Congress for the last six years, just the last four. As Darren astutely pointed out, Bush also had veto power and the bully pulpit on his side.

  19. dlf says:

    Darren May: like I said the president cannot make a law, he can suggest and he can veto a law, but he cannot make a law. You can twist it anyway you want to but that is a fact, unless Obama has changed that to.

  20. christie2012 says:

    People can blame each other all they want. The facts speak for themselves. In 1965 the federal government became involved in the public education spending $2 billion a year. In 2008,$550 billion was spent on K thru 12. Yet, their are some studies that show the education system is worse today than it was in 1965. I think it’s fair to say that throwing money at it does not work.
    I applaud Governor Scott for doing the cost benefits analysis and seeing that the problem can not fixed with money. Imagine a hated corporation having the same return on their investment as the taxpayer is getting. I am not saying all teachers are bad,yet there is a problem.
    There is a story out there about the Dept of Justice lowering the standards so low on the civil service test in Dayton Ohio, that a failing grade is now good enough for employment as a police officer. What does that say about public education system we have in this country?

  21. dlf says:

    christie2012: well said and some great points made without name calling and finger pointing. I agree not all teachers are bad, just some ,read the story on the gay student and his teacher, reported on Flagler Live,” Bulling of Gay Student at FPC “, listed below.

  22. Thinkforyourself says:

    OK again let’s think for ourselves and deal with the facts. Aren’t you even a little curious as to why the federal increase was so high. What took place since 65′? How about special education and the plethora of mandates. Here’s a quick list:

    1965-04-11 — Elementary and Secondary Education Act
    1965-11-08 — Vocational Rehabilitation Act Amendmens Pub.L. 89-333
    1966-10-15 — Department of Transportation Act
    1968 — Bilingual Education Act
    1972-06-23 — Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act
    1973-09-26 — Rehabilitation Act
    1974-09-07 — Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974
    1975-11-29 — Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
    1976-10-12 — Overhaul of vocational education programs Pub.L. 94-482
    1976-10-19 — Copyright Act of 1976
    1979-10-17 — Department of Education Organization Act
    April 7, 1986 — Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) including Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act
    1986-10-17 — Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
    1986-10-21 — Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986
    1986-10-27 — Anti-Drug Abuse Act
    1987-08-20 — Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act of 1987
    1988-11-18 — Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988
    1989-04-10 — Whistleblower Protection Act
    February 5, 1993 — Family and Medical Leave Act
    May 20, 1993 — National Voter Registration Act of 1993
    1996-08-21 — Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
    June 9, 1998 — Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
    August 7, 1998 — Workforce Investment Act
    October 21, 1998 — Child Online Privacy Protection Act
    2000-10-17 — Children’s Health Act
    January 8, 2002— No Child Left Behind Act
    2002-03-09 — Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act
    2002-12-17 — E-Government Act of 2002
    2005-04-27 — Family Entertainment and Copyright Act
    2005-08-10 — Transportation Equity Act of 2005
    2006-12-19 — Combating Autism Act
    2008-05-22 — Food and Energy Security Act of 2007 (“2007 Farm Bill”)
    2008-06-30 — Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2008
    2008-07-30 — Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008
    As you can see I stopped in 2008,there’s more and I’m sure the list is incomplete. My point being that it is often easy to throw that sound bite out there but the truth is they’ve increased the required mandates. I can tell you because I wrote a letter to our Federal rep’s after doing some research. When I heard one of our board members talking about it. Flagler alone has to “take” from it’s general fund for the shortfall or under funding of special education to the tune of almost 3 to 4 million dollars a year. The requirements to fund transportation for our children is also not funded. Either the federal government needs to back off on their mandates and laws or fund them. Same with the state, put up or shut up. If you want control – pay for it – if not leave local government alone to do what they need to do. It’s amazing that the Tea Party and the Republicans are all about small government and local control but they are the ones jumping up and down to support these over reaching policies. Now, let’s not forget some, SOME of these were desperately needed like the laws surrounding special education but they should be funded.

    Again – just trying to put some facts out there. This list crosses party lines. There is plenty of blame for feds, state and local leaders who put up with it.

  23. Dorothea says:

    Thinkforyourself, that’s an interesting list, thanks for posting. However, left to local control, our schools would still be segregated. The worst result, IMO, of unfunded mandates was the No Child Left Behind Act passed during the Bush Administration

    Christie, that story about the Dayton PD lowering standards has been blown out of proportion by Fox News and the hundreds of racist bloggers who jumped all over it like vultures on a dead body. Media Matters had this to say about it:

    “In a March 14 Washington Times column, Ted Nugent repeatedly called Attorney General Eric Holder “racist,” highlighting a recent request by the Department of Justice that the city of Dayton, Ohio, lower the passing scores for its police exams because they reportedly did “not meet terms of a lawsuit settlement that require the city to hire more black police and firefighters.” Nugent did not note that the Bush DOJ originally sued the city of Dayton over the exams in September 2008; the lawsuit was later settled in February 2009 by the Obama DOJ.”

    As you can see, this legal action also started under the Bush Department of Justice.

  24. dlf says:

    Dorothea: you can sure explain things away, the no child left behind pumped millions of dollars into the school system, no matter who was president. It did not work and it is still not working. Obama now has a new twist to education, more money and giving into the teacher’s union, oops, sorry association. Money does not work ;when you have some , I said some teachers, that should not be in the classrooms.Get rid of them, hire and pay on results, not some liberal theme that everyone will do a good job, don’t flunk Mary because she will not make it through the rest of her life. That’s why we have kids in the fifth grade who cannot read or write. Being a liberal did you watch 60 Minutes Sunday, a good piece on what a mess the New York schools are in .Except where they pay $125,000 and have a right to fire a teacher if they do not perform. That was the show that had the fifth grader from a public school who could not read nor write. Keeping making excuses for poor performance by SOME teachers, but how Scott has away to get rid of the ones who drag the good ones down. Bush has been gone for over two years and the buck stops with Obama when is he going to perform, oh, I forgot he is busy closing the prison down; in Cuba, which was going to be done within the first year of his being in office, or is he too busy making sure our government is more transparent or he is too busy catering to the unions so he can get elected in 2012? I lived in Dayton Ohio for over 45 years and they did exactly what the newspapers reported and some of it was prior Fox News, look at the dates. They did lower the requirements not only for blacks but for whites coming out of the government school systems could not pass the test, that is a fact.

  25. David Frank (dlf) says:

    Thinkforyourself: good facts and presented without to much finger pointing. I am not sure I agree that the Tea Party is the only group raising hell about the spending. When you go down the list you provided a lot of the items are what liberals wanted so the government would take care of them and BOTH parties caved into thes costly programs with no plan on how to pay for them. Again, there is enough blame to go around and we must get over the blame part and start holding people accountabel for their actions or lack of.

  26. Dorothea says:

    David, I did see 60 Minutes. I think the school principal running the program has some great ideas and the money needed to implement them. He hired teachers at $125,000 a year and fired them when they didn’t work well with his program. He hired them from all over the country. I think that any teacher offered $125,000 a year would gladly accept the terms. It’s likely that many of the brightest and best teachers in Flagler County are preparing their resumes as we write. New York City has some very innovative schools and programs, including Bronx Science, High School of Performing Arts, and a school for gay students. This school is another example of the cutting edge thinking of “liberal” New York City.

    I’m just imagining the screams of the tea-baggers should we start such a program here in Florida whereby teachers make an annual salary of $125,000.

    As for the Dayton civil service exams, I am not disputing that the scores were lowered. I only pointed out that the lawsuit was begun during the Bush administration and the settlement brought about was needed to satisfy the terms of the Bush lawsuit. If Dayton is educating its white students to perform better on tests than black students, perhaps another lawsuit is needed to provide equal eucation to Dayton’s black student.

    You have constantly harp on President Obama in every conceivable way, no matter what the subject, no matter how remote from the ongoing discussion. Now you back down and say stop the finger-pointing. I don’t intend to stop and will continue to respond as long as your ceaseless, specious, and antagonistic remarks continue to permeate FlaglerLive.

  27. dlf says:

    Thinkforyourself: I was wondering why you stopped in 2008 2009, it would not have anything to do with who took office and power at that time would it? Still some good information but would like to see the whole story, where did you get this information?

  28. BW says:

    I do agree that tenure needs to be looked at. The review process is something that always should be reviewed over time in any organization. Jobs change, communities change, and the review process needs to stay in line with changes. I think it’s narrow-minded to think money is a sole motivator for any performance. Study after study has shown that money is a short-term motivator only in business. So we have so-called business pros within the GOP that constantly demonstrate their lack of understanding of the business world. Yet, so many applaud them. Don’t get it.

    The Tea Party is a joke filled with arrogance, ignorance, and hypocrisy. They are starting to see how their demands don’t add up. “Cut spending”, but don’t touch social security or medicare? Cut spending, but don’t touch military spending? Cut spending, but don’t reduce services? Bottom-line . . . cut spending as long as it doesn’t affect them. They are already finding their freshman GOP candidates in Washington are finding themselves in the reality of it-ain’t-so-easy to just cut and cut without real repercussions to real people. They will fool themselves into thinking they have more power in the upcoming Presidential election than they truly have. They will back some crazy candidate again, possibly win the primary (and be forced to back whatever GOP candidate because they can’t back Obama), lose in the general election, and fizzle finally into non-existence. Let’s hear from the rationale instead of only having to be subject to the irrational that is really doing damage to our country and further leaving us younger people with the mess to clean up.

  29. christie2012 says:

    Dorothea: I did not speak about Pres BO anywhere in my post about the Dayton police dept. I saw the story from a local news station in Dayton. The local chapter of the NAACP even disagrees with the decision of the D.O.J.
    Thinkforyourself: You have proven the facts so well. We see all the programs added to education, yet their is very little improvement. This is not about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about a government and union run school system that’s broken. Many parents share in the blame.
    Allowing 2nd and 3rd graders to the state capital in Wisconsin and forcing them to chant “Hey hey, ho ho, Scott Walker has got to go” kind of proves my point. Maybe pres Bo’s new version of NCLB should start testing children on collective bargaining and forget about math and reading.

  30. Dorothea says:

    Christie, the list of acts that Livinginreality posted are, with a few exceptions, acts to promote equal opportunity for kids, not acts to promote better education.

    As for the video of kids singing in the rotunda, I don’t know the circumstances that got them there. Regardless, their parents either brought them there or gave them permission to go. That is their choice as parents, not yours or mine.

    We are never going to agree on why some kids don’t learn, but there are many kids who do excel in public schools. As was reported on Flaglerlive, several students were Merit Scholarship finalists in Flagler County this year. Two of my own kids, educated in public schools, went on to become Merit Scholars. Instead of blaming government and unions, we need to look further into how those who succeed in public schools attaned their success. The Sixty Minute segment that dfl mentioned was very insightful, but would require revolutionary changes in how we educate our kids. Throwing the baby out with the bath water is not the answer.

  31. Thinkforyourself says:

    Dlf, I knew you were going to say that (lol) but honestly I just googles federal laws passed since 1965. The list only went to 2008/09. I deleted what I thought didn’t impact education. I could have kept looking but I had to go to work. I’m also sure I could have missed something. BTW I also think that many of these are important issues, especially in relation to special education. They shouldn’t be allowed to pass a law if they can’t Fund it.

  32. Thinkforyourself says:

    Sorry for the typos

  33. Jack Howell says:

    What I find interesting in all this of this discussion is that there is no mention of Parental responsibilty in the education of their child. Teaching is teamwork with both the parent and teacher working together to help enhance the education process. I find it also interesting that those who make disparaging remarks about teachers have not been in the classroom. Spend a week in a classroom and your outlook towards teachers will change significantly. Deal with students who could care less about education. Deal with classroom disruption. Deal with the majority of students that can’t read and oh yes deal with the No Child Left Behind crap. When will are kids learn about failure and how to learn from that experience.

  34. Tina Jeffe says:

    Dear Jack….AMEN!!!!!

  35. Teacher Advocate says:

    I love the idiot who thinks teachers work 6-7 months a year…on what planet? Try 10 months with professional development over the summer. And how about countless hours in the evenings and on weekends grading papers, writing lesson plans and other required paperwork. Being a public school teacher is a grueling job because, although I believe every student CAN learn, it does not necessarily follow that every student WANTS to learn.

    Case on point: 5th grade student – does no work in class – does no homework. Mom comes in for conference (miracle in itself) and complains that he is being denied recess (which is when the teacher required the student to make up missing work). Her response, “He gonna be a professional basketball player and the only time he have to practice is recess” TRUE STORY…

    You cannot blame the teacher for not being able to reach every student or base teacher pay on student performance on a single test given on a single day. There is no level playing field. I challenge anyone outside the profession to spend a week in a middle or high school classroom. Walk a mile in a teacher’s shoes and then you may get some valuable insight.

    On a side note: the biggest problem is unfunded mandates – if you want to improve the system you need to put your money where your mouth is…otherwise it is just lip service.

  36. dlf says:

    Jack:well said to the point and to the source, best comment made for a while.

  37. dlf says:

    Dorethea: your solution to everything is a lawsuit, lawsuit and more lawsuits, that explains a lot about you and answered some question I had. I to will continue to point out the faults of Obama has you do of Bush, you may want to sue me but bring it on. Bush is out of office and he had his faults, Obama is in office and he to has his faults,but, he has a problem admitting it( see Flagler Live Bipolar Obama). You may want to sue Flagler Live for pointing out the faults Obama as, in a well written article. Cutting edge New York city is on the brink of bankruptcy,thinks to their liberal thinking, now that would be a great law suite. May I point out the problem with the current school system is not that do produce good student, but they also produce more bad students; at an ever increasing cost, I think christie2010 has your numbered, live with it.

  38. Liana G says:

    I had heard somewher that NCLB was actually the brainchild of the Clinton Administration but never gained ground until the Bush administration took office.

    So I did some digging and found this to be true. Ther are many other sites that this can be on.

    “Within days of taking office, Bush sent Congress a slender, twenty-six-page legislative blueprint entitled “No Child Left Behind” that drew on his gubernatorial experience and outlined the four principles of “increasing accountability for student performance,” “focusing on what works,” “reducing bureaucracy and increasing flexibility,” and “empowering parents.”[12]”. . .

    “Bush’s vision had much in common with Clinton’s. One congressional aide who had worked in the Education Department in the 1990s said, “The Bush administration took the Clinton administration’s ideas and ran with them.”[14] Tom Payzant, who served in Clinton’s Department of Education, observed, “NCLB is consistent with the 1994 reauthorization, but there’s a level of prescription with respect to implementation that [Democrats] would have been soundly criticized for.”[15] Former representative Bob Schaffer (R-Colo.) later noted, “[NCLB] was not a unique idea by candidate George Bush. . . . [I]t was attempted during the Clinton Administration, too. The difference is this: When President Clinton was in the White House . . . not only did [Republicans] kill these bills . . . we boasted about how, as conservatives, we had avoided this train wreck.”[16]”

  39. Dorothea says:

    dlf, actually I put a “grin” after the lawsuit sentence in my comment, but because I used brackets, it never appeared. Sorry that you went to all the effort responding to something that was meant as sarcastic humor.

  40. Dorothea says:

    Liana, very interesting, well documented, and insightful link. Thank you.

  41. Val Jaffee says:

    Jack Howell:

    “What I find interesting in all this of this discussion is that there is no mention of Parental responsibilty in the education of their child.”

    Jack I agree but one has to wonder about the educators behind those parents too, and the parents of those parents, and so on and so on. We are all born ignorant and learn as we go along.

    “When will [are] kids learn about failure and how to learn from that experience.”

    Spot on – disappointments should be lessons in perseverance, but one of the reasons society might be low on perseverance is the availability of a ‘pill’ to block us from experiencing these emotions that produce perseverance.

    Have you ever seen the multitude of ads for those pills. Whatever happened to allowing oneself to feel the emotions of pain and suffering and melanchony and disappointments and the many others that are there to build us up into being the strong creatures we should be and are capable of being – gifted with the capacity to also love and laugh and cry and get angry and feel sympathy and poke fun at ourselves while living life. No one asks to be born and if we going to choose to live on – then let’s live it!

  42. Liana G says:

    Dorothea – You’re welcome. I believe the intentions of NCLB were good and for that both administrations should be given points for trying. Is it working? Educators differ in their views. But education with all its ails makes a great scapegoat for everything that’s wrong with our society and rightfully so.

    Maybe it’s time for us to try the Finnish model – independent of all politics; then maybe we will finally be able to say it works. Interestingly, Finland does also have a diverse population so their model is doable. There are, however, other criterias that will need to be addressed and fixed.

  43. Kevin says:

    I see Bush derangement syndrome has taken deep root in some here, Dorothea and liana G for two as an example. According to your statements everything that is an issue today began with and continues as a result of George W. Bush, correct? That in itself should say something to you about you both having issues that maybe one should discuss with a professional in a clinical setting. Amazing.

    Move one and develop a new and comprehensive portfolio of facts to be used while discussing your rambling complaints and laughable solutions. Stop for the love of God, using the common talking points provided by your liberal media sources. It sounds ridiculous after a while.

  44. Liana G says:

    Kevin: Seems to me you are the one in need of help. Trouble with comprehension much?

    Go back and re-read my comments. Sheesh

  45. Dorothea says:

    Kevin, if my comments are not to your liking, don’t read them. If you continue to distress yourself over my comments, may a suggest discussing your masochistic tendencies with a shrink.

  46. dlf says:

    Kevin:great comments and right on the number on the two ” everything is a Bush problem” They just do not want to admit how bad Obama has screwed things up in such a short period of time.

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